Job interviews suck. You’re nervous. You’re trying to answer the questions without getting tongue tied or saying something stupid.
Is there a more stressful workplace experience?
With the lousy economy these days, many people are out of work. So a job interview may be in your future. It’s essential to prepare to increase your chances of success – and of landing the job. Lately, I’ve seen several articles that give sound advice.
“Prepare, prepare, prepare,” says Larry Buhl of Career Builder.
About 90 percent of success in job interviews is tied to preparation, it says. The key: anticipate likely questions and rehearse your answers. Some of the common questions include:
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why are you the best person for the job?
- What are your best/worst traits?
Arrive a few minutes early and try to calm yourself before the interviewer greets you. Closing your eyes or doing a few deep-breathing exercises can help.
Once the questions begin, listen carefully and think before answering. And always have a few questions of your own.
“Well-thought-out questions show you’re really interested in the company and the job,” Buhl says.
A Monster.com story by Michael Neece concurs, saying don’t confuse an “interview with an interrogation.”
“An interrogation occurs when one person asks all the questions and the other gives all the answers,” he says. “An interview is a business conversation in which both people ask and respond to questions.”
Be careful what you say about your present employer, urges this article.
“Regardless of how unhappy you are with your job or company, never act bitter or resentful in an interview,” Neece advises. “Hiring managers seek candidates who are loyal, positive-minded and team-oriented. They aren’t inclined to hire people they perceive to be potential headaches.”
It’s almost impossible to anticipate every question, so be prepared for a zinger.
“If an interviewer throws you a curveball, maintain eye contact, take a deep breath and pause to consider your response,” Neece says. “Many of your competitors will fluster easily. Set yourself apart by keeping your cool in the hot seat.”
When the interview ends, you can still increase your chance of getting the job by following several steps, Beth Braccio Hering of CareerBuilder says. First, send a prompt thank-you note. Then send a powerful follow-up letter.
“You can use the letter to introduce achievements that didn’t get discussed or to elaborate on interview answers that you thought lacked punch,” according to the Hering.
Keep learning about the company and be prepared for any follow-up calls. Think of questions you want answered. Use any contacts you have within the company to try to influence the decision-makers.
Remain optimistic that you’ll get the job. And if you don’t?
“Accept rejection with grace,” Hering says. “Keep your emotions in check and don’t burn bridges if someone else gets hired. One never knows what the future might hold.”
Take time to prepare for a job interview. The stakes are high. Learn the basic do’s and don’ts of interviewing – or you may never get the job you want.